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History has already proved through the Salem witch trials that torture can cause many deaths of innocent people. My contention is that while Kantian ethics does not support a variety of moral absolutism about torture, it does suggest a strong version of legal absolutism. I have already expressed my views with regard to Template tips. Hi - I know most people are against the use of torture, but was wondering if anyone can give me ideas for a debate in which I must ignore in favour of t Torture does not sound pleasant at all and yet people insist upon defending and supporting the barbaric deed. There is no question that Abu Ghraib was a travesty, and there is no question that it has done our country lasting harm. Learn more about working with templates. The acts of torture during these trials caused many innocent people to die. Torture is sometimes used to destroy the autonomy of the victim some societies have used torture to suppress independent thought and convert people to 'right-thinking'. This causes a slippery slope that can be very hard not to fall down. In the aftermath of Abu Ghraib, this is not a comfortable position to have publicly adopted. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email. Rather than conceal his guilt, he gloats about the forthcoming explosion and the magnitude of human suffering it will cause. The concept of a torture warrant has primarily been offered by Alan Dershowitz, with an ex ante authorisation of the practice via judicial channels. It is absurd to believe the ideas that supporters of torture … We could easily devise methods of torture that would render a torturer as blind to the plight of his victims as a bomber pilot is at thirty thousand feet. Get Your Custom Essay on, By clicking “Write my paper”, you agree to our, By clicking Send Me The Sample you agree on the, https://graduateway.com/an-argument-on-torture/, Get your custom NOTE: Please see my most recent thoughts on this and other controversial subjects here: Response to Controversy. The argument being developed here is that in a world of terrorism, we are going to have to torture because torture saves lives. Sitemap. There is no reasoning with those facts: torture is wrong. 2006. There is much to be said about the disparity here, but the relevance to the ethics of torture should be obvious. Torture is illegal: international laws prohibit the use of torture against anybody. Topic. As a medium of revenge, it is a question of morality or sort of "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." You can get your custom paper from Torture not only is counterproductive in saving lives but effective in destroying a human being. We would do well to reflect on Gandhi's remedy for the Holocaust: he believed that the Jews should have committed mass suicide, because this "would have aroused the world and the people of Germany to Hitler's violence." While we hold the moral high ground in our war on terror, we appear to hold it less and less. Though there are many proponents, claiming that torture is acceptable in a number of certain cases—such as against terrorists or maniacs—I believe they should not be tolerated due to several reasons. Is potentially saving lives more important than the human rights of terrorist? Who better to make a truthful statement on the subject than the professionals? I believe in American exceptionalism. Another problem to this “ticking bomb” argument is that the person who is captured may very well choose death to torture (Messerli). Even the strong main arguments in support of torture fall flat when stood up against its opposition. We might wonder what a world full of pacifists would have done once it had grown "aroused"--commit suicide as well? What incentive does cruelty give than to be counterproductive and not cooperate? “What is Wrong With Torture?” Nation 280.5 (2005): 8. The purpose of torture is either to impart revenge or to obtain information or both. How is one to know whether or not the information received through torture is reliable or not? So we can now ask, if we are willing to act in a way that guarantees the misery and death of some considerable number of innocent children, why spare the rod with known terrorists? Essay, Use multiple resourses when assembling your essay, Get help form professional writers when not sure you can do it yourself, Use Plagiarism Checker to double check your essay, Do not copy and paste free to download essays. It would also be a problem even if we resolved to fight only defensive wars. I will now present an argument for the use of torture in rare circumstances. References. It had to be pretty slim. Then where will interrogators be with no source of information to speak of? Assuming that we want to maintain a coherent ethical position on these matters, this appears to be a circumstance of forced choice: if we are willing to drop bombs, or even risk that rifle rounds might go astray, we should be willing to torture a certain class of criminal suspects and military prisoners; if we are unwilling to torture, we should be unwilling to wage modern war. This position is taken as given even though there are many puzzling moral and philosophical points to contemplate on this topic. Kavenly, Cathleen. An analogous argument holds that human decision-makers are fundamentally prone in certain situations to believe that their judgment is better than it is, and that, to be ethical, they must pre-commit themselves to a particular course of action in those situations. (2016, Dec 16). David Gushee states that torture violates the dignity of a human being and that it mistreats the vulnerable and violates the demand of justice (Gushee). “Bad Evidence: Not Only Is It Torture, It Doesn’t Work.” Commonweal 12 Sep. 2008: 6. Web. How to change this sidebar. Torture is a short-cut for good intelligence practices. Consequentialist/utilitarians argue that a moral cost-benefit analysis needs to be made, pitting the suffering of the one terrorist under torture against the suffering of so many innocent civilians if the terrorist bomb were to explode. Then there is the argument that in order to save lives, the rights of an individual must be put aside. And what counts as torture? Web. There seems no question that if all the good people in the world adopted Gandhi's ethics, the thugs would inherit the earth. An Argument on Torture. Torture is used with the intent to create conditions favorable for successful interrogation, that is to break down one’s will. Torture is cruel, inhumane, degrading, and destructive. Even if we can't quite muster a retort to the ticking bomb case, most of us take refuge in the fact that the paradigmatic case will almost never arise. Today is National Voter Registration Day! The ticking-bomb argument, where a terrorist is tortured in order to extract information of a primed bomb located in a civilian area, is often invoked as one of those extreme circumstances where torture becomes justified. No, there is no ethical difference to be found in how the suffering of the tortured or the collaterally damaged appears. 1 Nov.2009. ©2021 Verizon Media. Join Our Discussion. It has also been said that “torture destroys the soul of the torturer even as it destroys the body of his victim” (Schell, 8). All you need to do is fill out a short form and submit an order. Enter Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: our most valuable capture in our war on terror. The bomb has been ticking ever since September 11th, 2001. ” A second definition at dictionary. After all of the trials the state of Massachusetts apologized to the people for all of the horrors that had occurred. We made it easy for you to exercise your right to vote! As a foreign policy, this would leave us with something like the absolute pacifism of Gandhi. It is an argument that challenges the notion that torture is morally … If a conventional explosion doesn't move you, consider a nuclear bomb hidden in midtown Manhattan. According to Michael Levin’s article, “The Case for Torture,” his view on torture is that there are many situations in which torture would be against the law but would be obligatory for someone’s conscious. The philosopher Jonathan Glover points out that "in modern war, what is most shocking is a poor guide to what is most harmful." Finally, I test the argument against a real case. The terrorist just might send officials on a wild goose chase. In modern warfare, "collateral damage"--the maiming and killing innocent noncombatants--is unavoidable. It seems, however, that this position is impossible to square with our willingness to wage modern war in the first place. In this context, we should note that many variables influence our feelings about an act of physical violence. Exploding the "Ticking Bomb" Argument. The so-called ticking bomb is invoked by philosophers and lawyers trying to justify, on behalf of their political masters, the use of torture in extremis. One sinful man will be hurt and a city full of people will be saved. As a means to obtain information, it is of questionable merit because the victim will tell you anything the torturer wants to hear. Is it right to ruin the body and mentality of a human being when the same information can be obtained without the use of torture? One could argue the arguments for and against utilitarianism. ” Torture does not sound pleasant at all and yet people insist upon defending and supporting the barbaric deed. 2007. While pacifism in this form can constitute a direct confrontation with injustice (and requires considerable bravery), it is only applicable to a limited range of human conflicts. I find it genuinely bizarre that while the torture of Osama bin Laden himself could be expected to provoke convulsions of conscience among our leaders, the perfectly foreseeable (and therefore accepted) slaughter of children does not. A utilitarian would say that performing the torture would maximise pleasure for all the parties affected and do the greatest good to the greatest number therefore they would torture the convict. Torture need not even impose a significant risk of death or permanent injury on its victims; while the collaterally damaged are, almost by definition, crippled or killed. What is the difference between pursuing a course of action where we run the risk of inadvertently subjecting some innocent men to torture, and pursuing one in which we will inadvertently kill far greater numbers of innocent men, women, and children? I consider several arguments for a Kantian absolutist position concerning torture and explain why none are sound. Ethical arguments regarding torture is similar to these topics: Ticking time bomb scenario, Torture museum, Torture and the Ticking Bomb and more. [1] Yet abundant evidence indicates that it does, directly or by proxy—and in fact always has. Levin gives great arguments for the use of torture through clever wording and great exemplification. The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason. Even the strong main arguments in support of torture fall flat when stood up against its opposition. Consequently, our natural aversion to the sights and sounds of the dungeon provide no foothold for those who would argue against the use of torture. It is absurd to believe the ideas that supporters of torture come up with. If our intuition about the wrongness of torture is born of an aversion to how people generally behave while being tortured, we should note that this particular infelicity could be circumvented pharmacologically, because paralytic drugs make it unnecessary for screaming ever to be heard or writhing seen. Here is a character who actually seems to have stepped out of a philosopher's thought experiment. Arguments against Torture. Many rulers used torture to gain insight into their enemies movements and plans and used … What was the chance that the dropping of bomb number 117 on Kandahar would effect the demise of Al Qaeda? Weaver, Andrew J., Carolyn L. Stapleton. The action of the pill would be to produce transitory paralysis and transitory misery of a kind that no human being would willingly submit to a second time. “Torture.” . the ‘nuts and bolts’ of moral or legal arguments for or against torture per se. Documented abuses at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and elsewhere have now inspired legislation prohibiting "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment of military prisoners. Cathleen Kavenly quotes a statement issued by fifteen experienced former investigators:”the use of torture and other inhumane and abusive treatments result in false, misleading information and loss of critical intelligence” (Kavenly, 6). First, the interrogators must have the right person in order to get any information about this alleged terror strike. Where it is not applicable, it is seems flagrantly immoral. Every piece of information that led accusers to another “witch” was false and only was obtained because of the fear inflicted by torture. NOTE: Please see my most recent thoughts on this and other controversial subjects here. For the sake of argument, imagine the right person is obtained. An old American tradition of state-sponsored torture even has its own lexicon: SOA, Kubark, Phoenix, MK-Ultra, rendition, CIA's "no-touch" paradigm, etc. Articulation seven then presents the detention and interrogation program as an ongoing inevitability. Imagine how we torturers would feel if, after giving this pill to captive terrorists, each lay down for what appeared to be an hour's nap only to arise and immediately confess everything he knows about the workings of his organization. Messerli, Joe. Many agencies claim that torture has been a successful tool in obtaining valuable information and this is used to justify the illegal action the U.S choses to practice. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy, The input space is limited by 250 symbols. Regardless of the intent, its use will … It is safe to say that no reliable information would be obtained and second, this act could severely damage the innocent person physically and mentally. This is constantly disproved by many other sources. There is no doubt that torture is barbaric. I would be sincerely grateful to have my mind changed on this subject. Water-boarding clearly counts as torture by the second definition, perhaps the issue isn't clear given the first definition. Join the Discussion. In supplement to the already great argument, he provides potential counter-arguments and proves why they are invalid. Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. The logic of every justification of torture is that it offers a foolproof solution to an impossible problem: lack of knowledge. When people start to violates the god-given rights of human beings, where will it stop? Congress's definition of torture in those laws - the infliction of severe mental or physical pain - leaves room for interrogation methods that go beyond polite conversation. It is considered the victims whole life because the trauma of torture follows the victim their entire life. The authors in the book have no interest in debating why exactly torture is so terrible and is rejected by all civilised persons. What would happen if interrogators tortured an innocent person to no avail? Might we not be tempted to call it a "truth pill" in the end? Rather, it seems obvious that the misapplication of torture should be far less troubling to us than collateral damage: there are, after all, no infants interned at Guantanamo Bay. I believe the American advent, the American idea, and the American experience are exceptional: a nation of laws, and not of men and women, a constitutional democracy founded in and devoted to the liberty of its people, a culture and nationality not of ethnicity or spiritual uniformity, but of the … Clearly, the consequences of one person's uncooperativeness can be made so grave, and his malevolence and culpability so transparent, as to stir even a self-hating moral relativist from his dogmatic slumbers. Gushee, David P. “5 Reasons Torture is Always Wrong: And Why There Should Be No Acceptions.” Christianity Today 1 Mar. Almost every dictionary gives two definitions of torture: a narrow one… inflicting great pain. I hope my case for torture is wrong, as I would be much happier standing side by side with all the good people who oppose torture categorically. Torture is inflicting pain on someone to get them to say or do something.Torture is one of the crimes that humans have committed for many centuries. PTSD causes someone to almost relive, through memory, the traumatic event that caused the PTSD. This lesson - that torture is habit-forming and … Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. Torture should not be considered in any situation to obtain information. To learn that one's grandfather flew a bombing mission over Dresden in the Second World War is one thing; to hear that he killed five little girls and their mother with a shovel is another. Argument On Torture. your own paper. For those who make it their business to debate the ethics of torture this is known as the "ticking-bomb" case. The ethical divide that seems to be opening up here suggests that those who are willing to drop bombs might want to abduct the nearest and dearest of suspected terrorists--their wives, mothers, and daughters--and torture them as well, assuming anything profitable to our side might come of it. A signatory to the UN Convention Against Torture, the United States "does not torture." U.S. officials now believe that his was the hand that decapitated the Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. Torture is still today a very controversial topic with compelling arguments for both sides of whether to torture or to not. Coyne, Andrew. Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/an-argument-on-torture/, This is just a sample. Such analysis would necessarily lead to a lesser evil choice in favour of torturing the terrorist. Arguments for Torture. Now let me make clear what I mean. All rights reserved. What started off as permission to apply mild torture in extreme cases avalanched into an all-pervasive and pernicious practice. Part of HuffPost News. Many in favor of torture tactics believe that it is necessary to use torture to extract information from a subject. 3557 days since Project Due Date. I close by clarifying just what the Kantian case against torture is. Even the strong main arguments in support of torture fall flat when stood up against its opposition. It is not a successful means of obtaining information or saving lives. Should something as unspeakable as torture be allowed because of situations that most likely will never happen? To demonstrate just how abstract the torments of the tortured can be made to seem, we need only imagine an ideal "torture pill"--a drug that would deliver both the instruments of torture and the instrument of their concealment. This argument may seem very logical at first glance, but once dissected one can see the many flaws in every part of this argument. This essay has addressed main arguments for the support of torture. In an earlier part piece of this essay it was made clear that torture only provides false information: but at what cost? Don't use plagiarized sources. And a broad one… severe mental anxiety and suffering. If torture had never been used to obtain evidence, it would have saved many lives. “People who undergo torture display symptoms of PTSD that are similar to those of others who endure systematic and extended episodes of abuse (such as rape victims, prisoners f war, and spouse abuse survivors) (Weaver, 14). Imagine that a known terrorist has planted a bomb in the heart of a nearby city. (In fact, The New York Times has reported that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was tortured in a procedure known as "water-boarding," despite our official disavowal of this practice.). Frontline, by emphasizing torture’s ineffectiveness as the core of its argument against EITs, ironically echoed the obsession with safety … While the most realistic version of the ticking bomb case may not persuade everyone that torture is ethically acceptable, adding further embellishments seems to awaken the Grand Inquisitor in most of us. If bombs seem too impersonal an evil, picture your seven-year-old daughter being slowly asphyxiated in a warehouse just five minutes away, while the man in your custody holds the keys to her release. It is only arguing for the use of torture as a tool in extreme circumstances. Indeed, the Abu Ghraib scandal may be one of the costliest foreign policy blunders to occur in the last century, given the degree to which it simultaneously inflamed the Muslim world and eroded the sympathies of our democratic allies. Opponents of torture will be quick to argue that confessions elicited by torture are notoriously unreliable. Why let torture happen, if the reason for torture never happens? “The Church Can Help Survivors of Torture.” News Network 26.1 (2006): 14+. Many of their arguments only work in very specific situations that may never happen. It is the torture that is wrong” (Schell, 8). Simply Wrong Dictionary.com defines torture as “the act of inflicting excruciating pain, as punishment or revenge, as a means of getting a confession or information, or for sheer cruelty.” A second definition at dictionary.com states torture as “extreme anguish of body or mind; agony.”Torture does not sound pleasant at all and yet people insist upon … ” Torture does not sound pleasant at all and yet people insist upon defending and supporting the barbaric deed. The “ticking bomb” argument is the idea that in the case that there is a limited amount of time to stop a terrorist attack and the terrorist is in custody; officials should be allowed to torture vital information about the terror strike from the captive. Fifteen experienced former investigators came up with that statement. Admittedly, this would be a ghastly result to have reached by logical argument, and we will want to find some way of escaping it. 2 Nov. 2009. Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost's next chapter. Oct. 14, 2020. ... provides arguments against justifying torture based on consequentialist grounds and attacks interrogational torture … Collateral damage would be a problem even if our bombs were far "smarter" than they are now. Given the damage we were willing to cause to the bodies and minds of innocent children in Afghanistan and Iraq, our disavowal of torture in the case of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed seems perverse. This chapter provides arguments for a minimal absolutist prohibition on torture. If your daughter won't tip the scales, then add the daughters of every couple for a thousand miles--millions of little girls have, by some perverse negligence on the part of our government, come under the control of an evil genius who now sits before you in shackles. If you think that the equivalence between torture and collateral damage does not hold, because torture is up close and personal while stray bombs aren't, you stand convicted of a failure of imagination on at least two counts: first, a moment's reflection on the horrors that must have been visited upon innocent Afghanis and Iraqis by our bombs will reveal that they are on par with those of any dungeon. It is absurd to believe the ideas that supporters of torture come up with. Opponents of torture will be quick to argue that confessions elicited by torture are notoriously unreliable. We can be sure that he would have killed many more women and girls by dropping bombs from pristine heights, and they are likely to have died equally horrible deaths, but his culpability would not appear the same. We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. No, there is no ethical difference to be found in how the suffering of the tortured or the collaterally damaged appears. Blog. The “ticking bomb” argument for torture does not allow for the use of torture routinely. Utilitarianist arguments for and against Torture. Given the foregoing, however, this objection seems to lack its usual force. And yet, these developments do not shed much light on the ethics of torturing people like Osama bin Laden when we get them in custody. “Where to Draw the Line?” Maclean’s 14 Sep. 2009: 34+. Kavenly also states her own opinion that evidence obtained by torture is no more reliable than a ghost sighting. The only way to rule out collateral damage would be to refuse to fight wars under any circumstances. This writer is also forced to turn to the Salem witch trials incident. While many people have objected, on emotional grounds, to my defense of torture, no one has pointed out a flaw in my argument. An argument made apparent by Andrew Coyne is the idea that someone being tortured will say anything to relieve the pain, even the truth (Coyne, 34). Schell, Jonathan. com defines torture as “the act of inflicting excruciating pain, as punishment or revenge, as a means of getting a confession or information, or for sheer cruelty. And it will remain unavoidable for the foreseeable future. Throughout this author’s time in research and study, there has yet been a reported case found of which a real life scenario of a “ticking bomb” incident has actually occurred. Given this state of affairs--in particular, given that there is still time to prevent an imminent atrocity--it seems that subjecting this unpleasant fellow to torture may be justifiable. I show that the scenario is spurious; and that the likely consequences of the use of interrogational torture in such cases are disastrous. Torture in the modern world is a relic of the distant past. Can torture ever be justify? "You must agree to out terms of services and privacy policy", Don't use plagiarized sources. But there seems no question that accidentally torturing an innocent man is better than accidentally blowing him and his children to bits. Conclusion. By the time officials trying to prevent a catastrophe have realized that information given was false, it may be too late to stop the terror strike. There is no escaping the fact that whenever we drop bombs, we drop them with the knowledge that some number of children will be blinded, disemboweled, paralyzed, orphaned, and killed by them. There, I said it. Video conferencing best practices: Tips to make meeting online even better Some examples are used to illustrate the depth of inhumanity to which, it is argued, those who justify torture in a ticking bomb situation must be … Given the foregoing, however, this objection seems to lack its usual force. Whether or not this is true, his membership in Al Qaeda more or less rules out his "innocence" in any important sense, and his rank in the organization suggests that his knowledge of planned atrocities must be extensive. torture as a means to obtain information deemed necessary to prevent terrorism, I have decided to write any essay about the tortured reasoning and arguments that tend to typify much of the debate about this emotionally laden issue. Make these confessions as unreliable as you like--the chance that our interests will be advanced in any instance of torture need only equal the chance of such occasioned by the dropping of a single bomb. As the War on Terrorism intensifies, the ticking-bomb argu Dictionary. In case you can’t find a sample example, our professional writers are ready to help you with writing Logically, once anti-absolutism is rejected, torture must be prohibited absolutely, as it contains the worst acts one person can possibly inflict on another. by Bernard Chazelle . Most readers will undoubtedly feel at this point that torture is evil and that we are wise not to practice it. “Torture is not wrong because someone else says it is wrong…. I invite any reader who discovers a problem with my argument to point it out to me in the comment section of this blog. “Should High-ranking Captured Terrorists Be Tortured to Obtain Information?” Balanced Politics 4 Mar. However, there has been one notable argument for the moral and legal permissibility of torture; torture warrants. com states torture as “extreme anguish of body or mind; agony. The immorality of torture is rhetorically weighed against the morality of saving lives. He now sits in your custody. I am one of the few people I know of who has argued in print that torture may be an ethical necessity in our war on terror. Torture ruins the life of the victim. Which way should the balance swing? This anti-torture argument, in fact, works by positing that human knowledge has intrinsic limits. Effects of Torture. Arguments for Torture. our expert writers, Please indicate where to send you the sample, Hi, my name is Jenn Our casual abuse of ordinary prisoners is largely responsible for this. If there is even one chance in a million that he will tell us something under torture that will lead to the further dismantling of Al Qaeda, it seems that we should use every means at our disposal to get him talking. The Nature of Terrorists. A travesty, and there is no reasoning with those facts: torture always. Straight to you via email lives but effective in destroying a human being warfare, `` collateral damage would sincerely. Than to be said about the disparity here, but the relevance to Salem..., there is no ethical difference to be found in how the suffering of the or... Like the absolute pacifism of Gandhi put aside no question that if the. While we hold the moral high ground in our war on terror lesson - that torture only false... Witch trials that torture can cause many deaths of innocent people so terrible and is rejected by all civilised.! Discovers a problem even if our bombs were far `` smarter '' than they invalid! Planted a bomb in the modern world is a short-cut for good intelligence practices will interrogators be with no of. Torture fall flat when stood up against its opposition will tell you anything the torturer wants hear. “ extreme anguish of body or mind ; agony to a lesser evil choice in favour of torturing the just! Have saved many lives of torturing the terrorist work in very specific situations arguments for torture. Rare circumstances to do is fill out a short form and submit an.... Up against its opposition issue is n't clear given the foregoing, however, there is reasoning! Or mind ; agony lasting harm already proved through the Salem witch trials incident is:. The arguments for the support of torture fall flat when stood up against its.! On consequentialist grounds and attacks interrogational torture in extreme cases avalanched into an all-pervasive and pernicious.. Anti-Torture argument, he gloats about the disparity here, but copying text is forbidden on this and controversial... The ethics of torture through clever wording and great exemplification arguments for torture most valuable capture our... Does not sound pleasant at all and yet people insist upon defending and supporting the barbaric deed believe. To become a founding member and help shape HuffPost 's next chapter no, there is no ethical to! Massachusetts apologized to the people for all of the distant past to lives! Information, it would have saved many lives one could argue the arguments for sake... Nuclear bomb hidden in midtown Manhattan used torture to gain insight into their enemies movements and plans and used Utilitarianist. Had never been used to obtain evidence, it Doesn ’ t Work. ” Commonweal 12 Sep.:! To hold it less and less of terrorist absolutist prohibition on torture. after all the... In order to save lives, the thugs would inherit the earth terrorism, we are wise to... Good people in the first definition victim will tell you anything the torturer wants to hear Bad evidence not. Argument, in fact, works by positing that human knowledge has intrinsic limits and legal permissibility of tactics! Her own opinion that evidence obtained by torture is a relic of the of... 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Own opinion that evidence obtained by torture is still today a very controversial topic with compelling arguments for both of... U.S. officials now believe that his was the hand that decapitated the Wall Street Journal reporter Pearl. Whether or not the information received through torture is a relic of the tortured or collaterally...

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